A change to the law will see learner drivers hitting the motorways within months after almost 60 years of them being a learner-free environment.

The move to allow learner drivers lessons on motorways follows years of pressure from road safety groups, who had been lobbying for the change due to the potential dangers created by the prohibition. The ban on learners using these roads meant that they tended to be used for the first time by newly qualified drivers.

Motorway lessons are available for new drivers at present but uptake of these has been poor, possibly due to the high costs associated with learning to drive, and thus these have done little to alleviate safety concerns. Further it appears that the prohibitions on learners at present leads to some new drivers avoiding motorways altogether for years after they pass their test.

The changes in the law, due to come into effect in 2018 will allow learners to drive on motorways alongside a qualified driving instructor in a dual-control car. It is hoped that by allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive, controlled environment it will help them to develop a practical understanding and experience of motorways before going at it alone on the fastest and busiest roads in the country.

Also changing is the driving test that learner drivers will be subject to. A new test will be implemented from Monday 4 December 2017 adding new elements to the current test and removing certain things that have been deemed to be outdated.

The new test will involve an increased independent drive, requirements to follow directions from a sat-nav or traffic signs and a change in manoeuvres that candidates can be asked to perform. The turn-in-the-road, reverse park and reverse around the corner manoeuvres will be scrapped and the new manoeuvres learners will be asked to perform are as follows:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths then re-join the traffic

Changes to the “show me, tell me” questions have also been made now requiring students to undertake an element of multi-tasking, performing the show me question while driving. This element of the test will be undertaken as follows:

  • The “tell me” question requiring candidates to explain how they would carry out a safety task, for example checking oil levels, will be asked at the start of the test before driving.
  • The “show me” question requiring candidates to show how they would carry out a safety task, for example showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers will be carried out during the test whilst driving.

According to the DVLA, the changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving. The changes will only apply to car driving tests for now.

If you have committed a motoring offence and need some advice contact our experienced road transport team at Keep Me On The Road on 0115 910 6239